"If a government were trying to squeeze as much money as possible out of a population, what would it do?
1. The use of indirect rather than direct taxes, so that the tax is hidden in the price of goods.
2. Inflation, by which the state reduces the value of everyone else's currency.
3. Borrowing, so as to postpone the necessary taxation.
4. Gift and luxury taxes, where the tax accompanies the receipt or purchase of something special, lessening the annoyance of the tax.
5. “Temporary” taxes, which somehow never get repealed when the emergency passes.
6. Taxes that exploit social conflict, by placing higher taxes on unpopular groups.
7. The threat of social collapse or withholding monopoly government services if taxes are reduced.
8. Collection of the total tax burden in relatively small increments over time, rather than in a yearly lump sum.
9. Taxes whose exact incidence cannot be predicted in advance, thus keeping the taxpayer unaware of just how much he is paying.
10. Extraordinary budget complexity to hide the budget process from public understanding.
11. The use of generalized expenditure categories to make it difficult for outsiders to assess the individual components of the budget."
paraphrased by David Boaz, What Big Government Is All About, The Freeman, April, 1997, p. 213-14
| || |